In Family Law

What’s the difference between contested and uncontested divorce?

Not only is the idea of divorce frightening, when an individual actually begins the  process there is much to learn.

Take, for example, “contested” and “uncontested” divorce proceedings.

The difference between “contested” and “uncontested” divorce proceedings is not usually understood by clients.  In an uncontested divorce, the rights and duties of the parties are negotiated through their lawyers, or directly by the parties, and the case is settled “out of court”.  The court is then asked to approve the negotiated settlement. Most cases are settled cases and, most attorneys, will do everything in their power to attempt to settle your case.

In a contested divorce, the husband and wife cannot agree on the terms of settlement.  When this happens, the case typically will go to trial. If  a case goes to trial, the court determines, on the basis of evidence and the law, the rights and obligations of the parties.  Because of the preparation and trial time, contested divorces are very expensive.

Attorneys, when given all the facts and figures, will make settlement suggestions to their clients.  To make such suggestions, attorneys need a yardstick, or standard.  The standard is typically what the court would do if the proceedings were contested and if the court were to decide all matters at issue.

The next post will describe property division, a major item that  is to be resolved in divorce proceedings.

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